Blackstone revenue jumps in Q4

Firm made big bets on life-sciences, logistics and suburban multifamily

Blackstone CEO Jonathan Gray (Getty; iStock)
Blackstone CEO Jonathan Gray (Getty; iStock)


Blackstone saw revenue jump in the fourth quarter, which the company attributed to some pandemic-resilient investments.

The company reported $3.6 billion in revenue in the final quarter of 2020, up from $2.1 billion during the same period the previous year. Overall revenue for the year fell to $6.1 billion, from $7.3 billion in 2019. Blackstone saw an 8 percent increase to $618.6 billion in assets under management, bringing it closer to its goal of $1 trillion by 2026.

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During its Wednesday earnings call, officials at the publicly traded firm emphasized its holdings in logistics, suburban multifamily and life sciences — sectors which have performed well despite, or because of, the pandemic.

In December, Blackstone acquired a life sciences portfolio from Brookfield Asset Management for $3.45 billion. It also picked up a 2.1 million-square-foot warehouse portfolio from Iron Mountain for $358 million, adding to its 800 million square feet of logistics holdings.

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At 40 percent, the greatest share of holdings in Blackstone’s non-traded real estate income trust, BREIT, is concentrated in multifamily. Those holdings are primarily suburban, garden-style properties, according to a 2020 shareholder letter. The investment vehicle purchased a $550 million Florida mobile home portfolio in September 2020.

Blackstone is one of the most politically active firms in the country, having spent $5.6 million on lobbying in 2020 and $41 million in political contributions through its employees and subsidiaries. Its leadership has given generously to both sides of the aisle, with Jonathan Gray, Blackstone’s COO, hosting a fundraiser for President Joe Biden’s campaign, while CEO Stephen Schwarzman was one of Donald Trump’s biggest backers.

After the capitol riot on Jan. 6, Schwarzman condemned the violence voiced his support for a peaceful transition of power — though he stopped short of criticizing Trump’s actions.

Gray said that Blackstone has successfully operated under a variety of political regimes, and the company will continue to perform well — even if higher taxes and increased regulations are more likely under a Democratic administration.

“One of the benefits is an aligned government could push more dollars into places like New York and San Francisco, hard-hit urban areas during the Covid period,” Gray said. “That would be beneficial for some of the real estate properties we own, because those areas are under pressure.”

Blackstone is the largest rental landlord in New York City, according to The Real Deal’s annual ranking. In September, Blackstone reduced its management company’s staff at Stuyvesant Town, its sprawling Manhattan apartment complex, where residents reported an “exodus” after the city’s first Covid-19 surge.